Is Giving Up Our Medical Freedom Really for the Better Good?
This was written as an essay then released on my podcast. Please find the transcript below!
Last night my daughter and I watched a heartbreakingly beautiful film called Where Hands Touch. It was one of those films that leaves you deep in thought and emotionally wrung out. There are a few films that have done that to me in my life, one of them being Amastad, a film about a group of recently caught African slaves having taken over the ship from their captors only to end up on American soil anyway facing trial in the dangerously racist, dehumanizing, American court system of the late 1800s. I literally sobbed into the night after I watched that film, unable to reconcile the brutality people can exact on another for reasons that are incomprehensible to me. What if that were me or my child? What is the purpose? Is this really how humans act, what they believe, what they accept or perpetuate? I want to rescue them all, ease the pain, and make things right. I suppose one of the reasons I have such strong responses to those stories, why you may also, is because I have no choice in the matter, in what transpires, and can only experience the angst of knowing those people had at times no power, and we don’t have power either because it already happened or we can’t stop it.
Where Hands Touch is based on a true story about the relationship between a mixed-race African/German girl and a young nazi soldier in the midst of the horrors of the 2nd world war and nazi occupation. What these films and the true realities of the people who experienced the events always highlight for me are the enumerable complexities and tragedies that occurred for them on a monumental scale due to stains on our human history like the holocaust, and how the cultural ripples flow into the futures of all subsequent generations of the people affected. But possibly more disturbing is that the very same horrors (and I am going to use the word “horrors”, because there is really no other way to say it) are happening now and have been happening ongoing in many countries and societies since the beginning of the human race. Genocide, racially or class-based killing, rape, oppression, segregation, discrimination, slavery, trafficking, force and withholding, on different scales and for varying reasons, but happening all the same. Even as I speak these words.
Even though I may know the stories of people who have experienced these sorts of horrors, I am still twice removed from the experience. Although I’m not untouched by discrimination, hardship, loss, and pain, I live in a comfortable home and have been able to love who I want to and live a relatively free life. But what is happening now on a massive global scale is putting the squeeze on us all, only with a different “cause” and sides being formed on the basis of medical status. Coercive government mandates, medical bullying (some even experiencing medical rape), and loss of freedoms for those who will not comply (feeling there is something wrong with the medical procedures or governmental tactics or both) are being accepted in countries that used to stand for freedom, countries that could at least be, on the surface, counted on to return the world to balance. My country, where I was born and now live, is one of them. Now, you might say that this is not the holocaust, and I am not here to say that it is. There are parallels of our current situation to the French Revolution and Apartheid in South Africa, as well. I will say that the kind of bullying we are now experiencing is undeniably, unequivocally unhealthy, imbalanced, unsustainable, unjust, and inhumane, and is not new and in most ways not even unique.
What is happening? I am going to be challenging here, but hear me out. I say the following with the intent of illuminating a very dark corner we may not want to look into so as to lift the heaviness we are all feeling. And in order to do that I am going to widen the lense to talk about the bigger picture in general terms for a few minutes. The progression is relatively simple, really: first, live in a culture where the citizens are reliant on the system, next pose a threat, then be the only way to regain safety from said threat.
OK, so first, we live in a culture primed for control and manipulation. And I don’t want to say that we are all sheep to the slaughter and are stupid and easily led, but our need for survival makes all of us susceptible. We are immersed in a culture or society that is built on a reliance on these said systems, systems which depend on obedience and blind faith to function. These can be governments, industries, or medical, education, or social systems. In order to retain order, there is no room for free thought or free will, and any attempt to do so (think critically or to exercise free will) will be discredited, silenced, or forbidden.
In this kind of oppressive system, there can be no opposition or questioning, therefore no evolution, and it is never for the better good, only a means to the end: stay in power. Yet, due to social conditioning, the people rely on these systems for their safety because we are conditioned to do so. Everything “out there” is dangerous, including thoughts and each other. And our innate survival instincts demand protection from our leaders and safety in the herd. This can also be explained scientifically with the polyvagal theory that concludes that we are wired to survive and with threat as the catalyst for whatever we decide to do: fight, flee, freeze, or die. It shuts down everything but the survival instinct including executive functioning, digestion, reasoning, and reproduction. Creativity and joy become unattainable luxuries. It gives us licence and even the desire to do things we would normally find reprehensible, it makes us less in control of our emotions and therefore, ourselves. It disables foresight and consequence to our actions that move beyond or are the bigger picture than what imminent discomfort or challenge we are facing at this very second. Yes, the body goes through this at an intense level, and no, this is not an attempt at melodrama. It actually gives us reason for why we do the things that we do, and it all comes down to self-preservation.
Once the society is primed, the threat is introduced, or more aptly put, created. And we understandably react in kind with fear and looking for guidance, protection, and safety in numbers. And this is natural. I know that I want to protect my family and myself from harm and will go down trying if I have to. I can be the peaceful warrior, but can also be the mama bear, the warrior mama, if I need to be. But where I step off the crazy train and back onto solid ground is in recognizing what the threat really is, getting my head about me, and considering my options.
We all need to be given the space and tools to do this. And I would argue that in our society today (and in our often sordid human history) the real threats are actually the lack of choice, lack of free will, lack of empowerment and sovereignty that challenge the authorities who are attempting to exercise their power over something, whether it be an action, a thought, a population, or an entire people. All of this suppression is a means to an end: more power. Yet, this kind of rule or governance is impossible when there is free will, courage, and love. Therefore, in order for a system that has control at the very foundation to function, all three need to be dismantled or destroyed. And I’m thinking the true fight to be had for the better good of us all is not for their suppression but for their preservation.
So, how do we benefit when we choose to live under these kinds of systems?
We can find purpose, meaning, safety, and power in joining the ranks, the cause, the community.
People can think they are doing the right thing by supporting, perpetuating, or participating in the oppression because they are conditioned to believe in what the authorities tell them.
Some of us don’t see or want to ignore the consequences that have yet to touch us or are not unbearable enough to act against.
But what are the consequences?
They divide families, friends, lovers.
They divide the people caught in the position of enforcer or foot soldier (and in this case the business owner or local doctor) from the people they are told to control, although they question or perhaps do, indeed, love their neighbour.
So, in essence they do the opposite of what people are seeking to find, they disconnect people from each other and themselves. They leave people feeling vulnerable and unsafe, therefore combative mistakenly thinking that having power over others is their only option for safety.
The ultimate consequence for us all is a slipping away of our own collective humanity. We run the risk of becoming disposable foot soldiers, rats and informants, oppressors operating for the higher up government: either we join or become the persecuted, with family members turning on family members and friends turning on friends. Sometimes irreparably being divided.
My next questions are: What culture are we creating? And do we really want to live in such a society of passports and checkpoints, no matter if you have the papers or not, being vulnerable to discrimination and even persecution at any time as soon as someone decides to change the rules of the game? What legacy are we leaving? What are we teaching our children? Youth are indoctrinated into a corrupt and self-serving belief system that needs fear and control of all parties involved to function, that gives them a false sense of security, a community to belong to, an enemy to fight, yet is counter to their humanity. The connection and safety they experience is conditional (as long as they believe and comply or at least pretend to), so despite the human need for safety and connection being the catalyst for participation in corrupt governments and systems, the involvement in an oppressive society only leads to their own oppression and the severing of connection and the continual threat of the other shoe dropping. Do we really want this to be our new normal?
Sometimes we recognize the real threat–loss of free will, connection, and love–knowing that we are not immune to it and think: this is awful. What can I do? How can I protect my own? At least it isn’t happening to me. For now. I’m not judging anyone who thinks this, I think this, too. I was disturbed by accounts of one of my Italian friend almost 2 years ago now about how their country was responding to this global crisis and her family’s experience of it, but I was so far removed from it I felt it would blow over, not blow up–I thought it couldn’t happen here, but here we are.
We now have a traumatized global society. This is not sustainable. And it must be seen for what it is. A very very bad situation if we don’t recognize that, stop reacting, shift our responses, and heal.
I ascribe to all of the current social movements: feminism, anti-racism, anti-classism, LGBTQ, the environmental movement; I recognize the hardships of other social sickness such as how cultural identity beliefs and economic disparity has created traumatized men in prisons or how capitalist-driven advertising and body shaming affect young women’s sense of worth. I speak and act out against discrimination for any reason, and fight hard for freedom of education, freedom of thought, medical freedom, which is the right to decide what happens to our very own bodies and prevent medical bullying. I am a children’s health advocate and a warrior mama. But in essence, and if you want to boil it all down into one mission, into one umbrella term to identify the hill I am willing to die on, I would call myself a humanist. I want very much to love my neighbour even if I don’t always understand them, even if their ignorance poses a threat to me and my family. But I will fight because sometimes you need to pick a side, and I chose to fight for liberation for us all. Yet although I use war terms and metaphor, the fight is not a violent one, and the weapons of choice are connection, compassion, and insight.
So, as I said at the beginning of this piece, oppressive rule or governance is impossible when there is free will, courage, and love. Instead of creating a traumatized global society, instead of perpetuating deeply wounding practices and beliefs, find safety in a society outside of self-serving system and governments, find safety in the knowing that we have free will negating our need to impose our will on others; courage to overcome our fears and to respond rather than react to the world around us; and love that begins with understanding, with seeing the humanity in another that is not unlike yourself. Even in war times, love blooms between people who are supposed to be enemies. Most wars begin for power. If we live in a way that does not rely on the power over another but power with each other, this need not be war. And we are all safe.
Carla Atherton, MA, FDN-P, is the Director of the Healthy Family Formula and the HFF Practitioner Training Academy, Host and Producer of the Children’s Health Summit, Author of Family Health Revolution, Host of the Family Health Revolution Podcast, Empowerment Coach, Holistic Family Health Freedom Consultant, and children’s health advocate. Spurred on by the love for her three glorious and grown children and her husband, Carla’s mission is to support families to achieve their best health through information, guidance, and empowerment.
Carla lives on an acreage in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, where she works from a home office. In addition to empowerment and health coaching and leading “Hero’s Journey” creative writing workshops, Carla also works with families from all over the world on the reversal of conditions such as, Autoimmunity: Type 1 Diabetes, PANDAS/PANS/Autoimmune Encephalitis, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity; Asthma, Allergies, Eczema, and Reactivity; ADHD, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Learning Disabilities; Depression, Anxiety, Mental Health Disorders, Eating Disorders, ODD; Other Neurological Conditions; Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Metabolic Disorders; Untangling Mystery Symptoms, Complex Cases, and Co-Morbidities (having more than one condition); Mold Illness; Multiple Chemical Sensitivity; Lyme; Other Infection; and Addictions. Carla is on a revolutionary mission to empower families to transcend our new normal of ill health and chronic disease.